NEW EXPORT PATHWAY FOR AGRI-PRODUCTS ESTABLISHED AT AUSTRALIAN FOOD SHOW
New export pathways for Fijian agriproducts have been established during the recent Fine Food Show held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in Australia.
Australia is the second largest importing country for Fiji’s agriculture commodities over the past five years.
Deputy secretary agriculture development at the Ministry of Agriculture, Jone Sovalawa, who led the Fijian delegation to the event, said demand for Fiji’s local produce continued to increase annually.
“The current demand of Fijian products continues to grow each year and this is linked to the increasing number of Pacific Island people migrating to Australia, as well as tourists who have visited our shores and tasted our food which has contributed to the increase in demand,” he said.
“Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Trade and Tourism is fully supportive of connecting local exporters to overseas markets. During the food show, large Australian distributors, like ‘Fiesta Ingredients,’ showed their interest in desiccated coconut from Fiji rather than mass coconut suppliers because of the organic nature of Fiji’s coconuts.”
He added that a positive indication of Government’s commitment to connecting agro-exporters to overseas markets was the exhibitors’ appreciation on being offered the opportunity to be part of Fiji’s delegation.
There was a large turnout of visitors at the Fiji booth. Agro marketing authority sales representative Eroni Qama said there were interested buyers inquiring to buy frozen taro, cassava and virgin coconut oil. Mr Qama said: “Distributors from key importing countries were all under one roof which made it easier for them to find us and was simpler for us too to promote our products.”
Organic coconut oil makers Bula Batiki representative Callum Drummond was grateful for the opportunity for a small island like Batiki to tell their story on the international stage.
“With new connections formed at this event, Bula Batiki is hopeful to export to the Australian, New Zealand and US markets and through meeting interested buyers, we hope to increase our sales to Australia,” he said.
“I am thankful for the support by the Fijian Government which allowed this unique opportunity for us to showcase our products and to lift the reputation of a remote island community, certainly it’s going to boost agriculture production in the maritime islands whether it’s virgin coconut oil, cocoa, turmeric, cinnamon or vanilla.”
Nadi-based Adi Chocolate (Fijian Cacao) director, Tomohito Zukoshi said the exchange of information and interaction with international buyers during the food show was valuable for local exporters. “I have been exposed to new product ideas and have also learnt some of the latest technologies not only limited to chocolate but other new innovative ideas which I have been fortunate to have been a part of,” said Mr Zukoshi.